Sunday, 30 November 2014

Twelve Tags of 2014 ~ November

Once again ! Who can believe that it's the last day of November ! I've had a busy but enjoyable week, with visitors, a meal out and lunch with good friends, all fitted in between going to work and a few snatched hours crafting. So in the spirit of  what is fast becoming my motto... 'better late than never'... here is my contribution to Tim's Twelve Tags of 2014 November tag. You can see Tim's fabulous Autumn inspired tag here. I've changed it a little as I haven't got the lovely Layered Leaf Set. I decided on the heart shape, as quite frankly, it was the easiest shape for me to cut freehand, and anyway who doesn't love the symbol of a heart, it can say so much. After embossing the tag with this swirly design, I tapped a little embossing ink over the surface, using the back of a piece of Cut and Dry Foam, before using the Sticky Embossing Powder and gold foil, I love this effect and I'm sure I'll be using it more often  as I love a bit of bling ! x

Friday, 28 November 2014

Recycle for Christmas ~ New Challenge ! ~ Artist Trading Post Exchange.

Yvonne is hosting the new challenge over at the Artist Trading Post Exchange and she has chosen the theme of 'Recycle for Christmas'. Her beautiful project can be seen on the blog by following this link. You'll also find the challenge rules and details of how you can join in and maybe win a £10 gift voucher for The Artist Trading Post shop. Now if there is one thing I love it's crafty recycling. I find it's almost as much fun as buying new stash.  For my project I've used three of my favourite recycled items, I wonder if you can spot them ? Let's see how I got started....
Here is favourite item No 1. I always save these little cube boxes from my 'go to' face cream. After opening this one out I gave it a coat of Heavy White Gesso. This is nice and  thick and necessary as  the surface of the box  has a slick finish. Whilst it was drying I turned my attention to what is probably my all time favourite recycling item... No 2.. tomato puree tubes...
As soon as a tube is finished, I cut the top and bottom off, as well as a thin strip down one side. I then open out the tube and rinse off the remaining tomato puree. You just need to be a little careful as the edges might be a little sharp. I found a great way to flatten the tubes by running them through my Big Shot. I placed a closed embossing folder on the base platform, with my metal 'sandwich' lined up on top. The metal is very soft and can be embossed as well as die-cut with the Sizzix Bigz or Movers and Shapers dies.
I used the Tattered Poinsettia Die to cut these layers of petals.
.....Back to my box.... I used Tim Holtz's Harlequin Layering Stencil and a mixture of Barn Door and Festive Berries Distress paint over the surface of the box. I let this first coat dry and then re-positioned the stencil covering the red paint, and stencilled with Tarnished Brass. I first saw this idea last year on the wonderful Paula Cheney's blog.
Once this was all dry, I blended in some Vintage photo Distress Ink, this fills in any white spaces and deepens the colours, giving a lovely rich effect. I then used the Tim Holtz Christmas Layering Stencil with Black Archival Ink,  I then re-folded my box and glued it back together. I blended a little Black Soot Distress on the edges, for a more vintage look, before layering up my metal poinsettia.
Before adhering the flower to the top of the box, I stamped a small die cut label and attached it to the top using my favourite recycled item No 3.... I save those little pieces of ribbon that are attached to the inside of clothes, sad, I know, but I'm sure I'm not the only  person that does this. Worse thing is I'm sure these little pieces of ribbon have  actually influenced me into buying something !
Box number two has been made in a similar way but with a single layer of stenciling using the Holiday Knits Layering Stencil
I also added some snowflake die cuts which have been covered with very fine glitter.
 Ihope my recycled boxes will inspire you to get out some of those bits and bobs you've been hoarding. If you hop over to the Artist Trading Post blog, you'll find some amazing ways of turning your 'trash' into 'treasure' . If you'd like to join in the fun and have the chance to win a £10 gift voucher for The Artist Trading Post shop, you will find all the details and challenge rules by following the link here. Please remember to include some stamping, as projects without stamping,  won't be eligible to win the prize or be featured our top 3 favourites. So with that said remember the crafter's motto... 'don't throw that away, it might be useful !' x

Friday, 21 November 2014

Compendium of Curiosities 3 ~ Challenge 15 ~ Cabinet Card Pockets.

Ha ha ! Is it that time already? Anyone who has followed my CC3 entries will know by now that I'm a bit of a last minute person when it comes to these challenges. So without breaking the tradition here is my entry for the Compendium of Curiosities Challenge 15. This time the Curiosity Crew are asking us to have a go with the rather fabulous Cabinet Card Pockets. Details can be found on page 38 of Tim's Compendium of Curiosities Volume 3Linda over at Studio L3 is doing a fantastic job of hosting these fortnightly challenges and the Curiosity Crew never cease to amaze me, with their wonderfully inspirational pieces. Speaking of inspiration, the lovely folks over at the Inspiration Emporium are sponsoring Challenge 15, with a $50 gift certificate for one lucky winner. Just in time to purchase some Christmas goodies! Which reminds me... Tim and Mario have donated a whole heap of goodies, which the Curiosity Crew award to their favourite entry. So two great chances to win and if you come close,  ahem !... like I have twice! then you have the honour of having  ' An Honourable Mention from the Crew, which makes you feel real good !
Any way, back to my project, it's a  circus themed canvas which measures around 7" x 9". I stenciled the stripes onto the background after chickening out from using a stripey page from my Merriment Paper Stash. It had such wonderful pictures on the back which I really want to use later on, so out came my Wendy Vecchi Yikes Stripes stencil and some Barn door and Festive Berries, Distress Paint. Because I wanted the stripes to be fairly precise, I used a light squirt of repositionable adhesive to hold the stencil nice and flat, during the process.
 I love the photo of this guy wearing  a clown fancy dress costume, I downloaded it from one of the free graphic websites so long ago that I've forgotten which one it is. I've been dying to use both this and the Oxford Impressions Vintage  Circus Stamps. I think the fancy dress guy, fits the Cabinet Card Pocket just right.. These cards are just so perfectly vintage, that I didn't feel the need to do anything other than a little Distress Ink blending around the edges. So that's it, all done and dusted ! x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

'Stencil Mania' ~ New Challenge for Artist Trading Post Exchange

Julia is the host for our new challenge at the Artist Trading Post Exchange and she has chosen a subject that I absolutely love 'Stencil Mania'. The challenge is to produce a piece of work where stenciling is the main focus. You can find the challenge details as well as some inspiring work by the design team, over on the ATP Exchange blog by following this link. There is a £10 voucher for the amazingly well stocked Artist Trading Post, for one lucky winner.
Julia's challenge had me reaching for my art journal and believe me I had a lot of fun creating this double page spread ! I started the pages by firstly laying down some texture with torn book pages and brown paper, adhered with Matte Multi Medium.
Once dry, I coated the pages with gesso. I then set to with my stencils and my newly acquired Tim Holtz Distress Stain Sprays. Heaven !
I used  Harlequin and Dot Fade Layering Stencils with Antique Linen, Tumbled Glass, Pumice Stone  Mustard Seed and Barn Door Distress stain Sprays. I know, I know, there's quite a mix going on  there! but I just couldn't stop myself. I love the spontaneity of using the combination of sprays and stencils. The gessoed  background, also has the effect of muting the colours as they dry. this layer took quite some time to dry completely. I used a heat gun to try and speed it up a bit.
Here you can see the blend of colour and texture of this first layer. Once dry, I added some further stenciling but this  time I used embossing paste. The stencil I used is by the Crafters Workshop.
The embossing  paste I used was actually white, To acheive this gold effect, I replaced the stencil once the paste was dry, and brushed some Inka Gold Paste onto the embossed patterns. I quite liked this effect, but it under went several changes before I was completely happy. That is the joy of working in a journal. You can experiment and change your mind as much as you like, just make sure that things are completely dry before trying to alter them. Next up was some stamping with black Archival Ink.......
...and a bit more stenciling, as well as some around the edges with Black Soot Distress Paint. I also replaced the stencil over the butterflies and coloured them with Black Soot Distress Paint. The next day, I reviewed the journal pages and decided that I wanted the gold on the embossing paste to be a bit more glitzy, so it was back to the stencil. I replaced it and sponged through some Indigo Blu Flitter Glue. I removed the stencil and added Mega Flakes.
This effect is much more to my liking. Well if you're going to add some bling then let it shine eh?
As usual, I couldn't just stop there, so I added Mega Flakes to the butterflies as well !
If you love using stencils as much as I do, or if you've been meaning to try them, then this'Stencil Mania' challenge is for you !
Here's a list of some of the products I've used which you can find at the Artist Trading post Shop, just click on the item and you'll be transported straight there. until next time... Happy Crafting ! x
 Golden Gesso
Embossing paste
Matte Multi Medium
Black Soot Distress Paint
Fired Brick Distress Paint
Dylusions Creative journal
Heat Tool
Tim Holtz Layering Stencils
Spinning Tops Template
Specimen Template
Chicken Wire Template
Archival Ink